Retail Sales Declines in May, NRF Predicts Father’s Day Uptick

L Brands was among the few winners in May. The parent company of Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works reported a 2 percent increase in net sales in May to $815.6 million., although comparable sales remained flat.

For Kearney, Neb.-based retail chain The Buckle Inc., it was a different story. The company reported a 10.4 percent decrease in net sales to $67.4 million, with comp-store sales down 11 percent. The company said the results reflect a new Guest Loyalty program that launched in the company’s first quarter.

Action-sports chain Zumiez Inc. reported a 2.9 percent decline in net sales to $50 million, with comp-store sales declining by 7.6 in May. During the same period last year, the company reported a 2.2 percent decline in comp-store sales.

Gap Inc. also saw sales declines in May. The retail giant, which runs Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta stores, reported a 5 percent decline in net sales to $1.18 billion. Comp-store sales declined 6 percent. But the breakdown of sales by outlet told another story. Gap Global saw its comp-store sales decline 3 percent in May, after reporting a 6 percent decline in the same period last year. Old Navy reported a 7 percent decline in same-store sales this year compared to a 6 percent decline last year. Banana Republic Global saw the steepest decline with a 11 percent decline in comp-store sales reported in may, over a 5 percent decline last year.

“As we move into the second quarter, we are continuing to make progress against our recently announced measures while maintaining the financial discipline we are known for,” said Sabrina Simmons, chief financial officer, Gap Inc.

The company said the forecast looked better in the days leading up to the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

According to the National Retail Federation, retailers should see sales pick up in June due to Father’s Day spending. According to a survey conducted for NRF by Prosper Insight and Analytics, consumers will spend an average $125.92 for the holiday, which is an increase from last year’s spending of $115.57. Total spending is expected to be $14.3 billion, which is the highest figure in the survey’s 13-year history. However, Father’s Day spending is not expected to match Mother’s Day spending, which this year was $21.4 billion.

“It’s encouraging to see consumers planning to splurge on dads,” NRF President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Shay said. “This increase in spending could be a good sign related to consumers’ willingness to spend more as we head into the second half of the year.”

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend money on special outings such as dinner, brunch or other activities; clothing and gift cards; consumer electronics; greeting cards; personal care items; automotive accessories; books; music; home improvement or gardening supplies and sporting goods.